Gurney's Inn
November 21, 2007

My Body The Temple

I am clean and green and sober.

This is all part of a new kick around here at The Independent as we strive to lead healthy lives and respect our bodies as well as the environment.

It all started when we were looking for a theme for our Christmas supplement. I've been doing them for 20 years, and I usually come up with titles like "Peace On Earth" or "Goodwill Towards Men" even though our country continues to kill Afghanistans and Iraqis with alarming dispatch. "A mere technicality," I told our editor, Carey London, when she pointed out "war" and "peace" are not synonymous by any stretch.

I bounced a couple more themes by her I felt appropriate, like "A Fantasy Football Kind Of Christmas." She pointed out the word "Christmas" itself was probably inappropriate because it excluded non-Christians.

"OK, OK, how about "A Kwanza Kind of Fantasy Football?" Not good, London said.

I decided it was time for her to step out of my long (really long) shadow and experience first hand the magnitude of me. "Why don't you come up with the theme this year?" I suggested.

That's when this GREEN thing started.

There was muffled laughter when London first suggested it; after all, we all have heard of "A White Christmas: and "A White Kwanza" but London's catchy title was "A Green Event For People Of All Denominations Who Believe Al Gore Is The Baby Jesus Only With a Great Big Butt."

After some persuasion we shortened it to "Our Little Green Book." I had one when I was in high school with the names of all the girls I knew who put out, but this one was about loving Mother Earth. I was boinking a woman we called "Earth Mother" in 1968 but, as I found out, so was everyone else.

Anyhow, the theme of treating Mother Earth in an environmentally sensitive way eventually broadened to treating our minds and bodies with the same reverence.

My assignment was to research a Thanksgiving menu that would reflect that mindset. I came up with a big turkey shaped blob of Tofu with 12-grain bread, sprouts, and cod liver oil. A tasty holiday treat to be sure. "Then I'll wash it down with three glasses of brandy," I said, half kidding.

There was silence in the room. Finally London spoke up.

"You know, Rick, you need to treat your body like a temple."

"I do," I said. "I treat it like the Yeshiva on Kings Highway in Brooklyn."

"No, I mean it. Brandy kills the soul and damages the brain, not to mention your kidney and liver," Carey said gravely.

"Is there any downside?" I asked.

This is the problem with the world today. First of all, the kids in this new generation are all certifiably insane, because their parents took LSD think of their brains frying like eggs in the television commercials.

I went home and complained to my long-suffering wife. "They want me to live right and treat my body like a Jewish temple," I complained. "They want me to stop drinking brandy!"

"I bet you can't!" she sneered.

That was it.

I'm the kind of person if you tell me I can't, I will. I have Determination. Perseverance. Willpower. I am strong. I am invincible. I am constipated. I am Woman! Oops, just kidding about that one. But the next day the new heart healthy Rick was born and a new era of Green began at The Independent and at home.

Karen started drying the laundry outside. She made me a nice steaming bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. She packed me celery and carrot stick with hummus for lunch. We had salmon and salad for dinner. We used biodegradable plates. We started using reusable toilet paper, and what a joy that proved to be.

At work, we switched to energy efficient light bulbs. We asked Jerry Della Femina if he would install a solar heating system ("Drop Dead" he replied). We have 12-grain bread. (Can anyone even name 12 grains? Let's see; wheat, rice, barley, Sleepy, Dopey, Blitzen . . ) We use recycled paper.

It all reached a GREEN crescendo when Amy Patton started going down to the health food store and buying shots of (I'm not making this up) of liquid wheat grass. "It makes me feel so alive! I'm a new person! She gushed. (Shit, that's what I said when I got my prescription to Viagra!Viagra prescription.) Soon, like a drug dealer in a schoolyard, Patton had gotten London and Kitty Merrill hooked on the stuff. Now, the addicts need their fixes every day.

It's been nine days now for me. No brandy. I'm clean and sober.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I still drink. But I only drink liquids that are in harmony with my mind and body, nourishment that will foster the image of the Inner Me residing in a temple.

Wine, as it turns out, is a natural antioxidant, good for the heart, and good for the mind. And in accordance with green principles and healthy living advocates, that's what I will imbibe tonight.

Two glasses of wine.

Two great, BIG glasses of wine.

(And a few beers.)

Brandy kills the soul and damages the brain, not to mention your kidney and liver," Carey said gravely.

"Is there any down side?" I asked.

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